Friday, February 09, 2007

Hey! The bathroom looks useable again!

no more piles of first aid kit/ jewelery/ contacts/ shells/ CDs/ pins/ carabiners/ etc threatening to overwhelm the counter and fall into the sink when I'm trying to use it.

...let's agree to not mention the state of my room. my closet -almost- looks habitable. for once my room resembles the horrorscapes that shows like 'clean sweep' adore.

finishing up my CV and cover letter. still waiting on a response from Aaron and Jan. (aaron! jan! this is your devoted sharkbait/labbie pleading!) I suppose I could terrify both Aaron and Homeland Security by calling his office (which is in Muscat, Oman) but that would involve calculating time change, a rather awkward conversation (hey, long time no see...uh...yeah, I need another reference...) AND the use of my cell phone, because we don't have long distance on the house phone. and I don't want to think about how much that bill would be. plus The Boy would like me to avoid piqueing the interest of the alphabet agencies since he's thinking of heading that direction and would like to be able to pass the security clearance tests, which is pretty entertaining when you think about it.

Lars. oh, Lars. I know that I've been teasing you with the Dr Who scarf for too long, and I am ashamed. but barring any unforeseen-but-maybe-convenient-circumstances you should be able to dodge Daleks with the best of them this summer.
(what?! almost finished?!)

Mum and I are officially on yarn diets. I'm going to try to knit only from my stash this year. first I need to get my room to the point where I can get AT the stash. I can see it, but I can't use it. it taunts me. she's knitting me another pair of socks (yay!) and she's going to start eventually on the world's most terrifying project EVER- socks for my grandma, who not only knit, but she KNIT. (sadly past tense. stupid joints.)

I need to go through the Dominic Deegan archives and figure out a better pattern for
Taylor's wristlets.

I can't get my mom's Mac to accept my flashdrive and pictures from my non-Mac, so no visuals of the trip. If you want to see the ship, she's the Robert C. Seamans (showing here). I will, eventually, get pictures up. sigh.

the semester began with 6 weeks of on shore classes in Woods Hole MA; I took Oceanography, Nautical Science (how to navigate/run the ship/physics behind how sails work etc), and an Ocean Science and Public Policy class. The end result of the Oceanography class was that we wrote a formal research project proposal of what we planned on studying and sampling once we got to the boat. We had several guest speakers, including Francisco Chavez, who our group dubbed the 'rock star of el niƱo' and who works with the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

We lived in student housing, 10 people per house, and we were in charge of feeding ourselves. I lucked out with the house of all girls, so we had a very entertaining time of it, especially when we hosted thanksgiving dinner with our professors and anyone else who would fit in our living room. our dinner conversation reminded me strongly of when you invited our anatomy class over for dinner and charades. What happens when you get a houseful of science gerls (our contraction of nerd and girls) together? copepod rice krispie treats and dinoflagellate cookies, which were our contributions to the school all hands lunch. our class thought it was hilarious, the crew and staff were slightly disturbed, and the other class (more humanities based) thought we were terrifying.

On the boat, we became crew members and were assigned to one of three 7-person watches that rotated between two 7 hour shifts (in daylight) and three 4 hour shifts (night). we also rotated through the engineering department, learning how the boat worked and how to fix things and code restrictions and such, and the galley, serving either as dishwasher, assistant steward, or steward. When our watch was on shift, we were further divided into two groups, one of which was on deck steering/setting sails/checking the radar and the boat, and the other of which was on the science deck. Twice a day the science department organized deployments of a hydrocast, which samples water at preprogrammed depths for on-ship analysis, a CTD (conductivity temperature density) probe, a fluorometer, and a CDOM (carbon and dissolved organic matter) probe, and a variety of nets that sampled either at the surface or at a depth we chose based on what we were trying to catch. We'd haul it all back on board and test for oxygen concentration levels, nutrient (nitrate/nitrite, phosphate) levels, zooplankton biomass and lots of other interesting procedures that become quite interesting when you're doing them in 9 foot seas, or at three in the morning.

My individual project was on parasitic amphipods on gelatinous zooplankton. I sampled and keyed out organisms (mainly salps, which are basically a gelatinous tube with a stomach, reproductive organs, and muscles) and then determined if they had any parasitic amphipods attached. if they did, I keyed them out and then looked at my data set to see if there were any interesting patterns of statistically different population groups. (there weren't.) The coolest parasites are the phronimids because they hollow out a salp or doliolid into a barrel and then lurk inside them to feed and raise their broods. They're supposedly the inspiration for the appearance of the queen alien in the Alien movie series.

They rock. in fact, this is how much they rock-
see? Baker's all "wait...hold the camera...I gotta process the awesomeness that is Phronima..."

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